Dell'Oro Group this week released a report that shows wireless LAN revenues will exceed $7 billion by 2014. Interesting, but when you consider that Dell'Oro believes a good part of that growth will take place in the enterprise, that statistic becomes downright fascinating.
The telecom research firm predicts that enterprise wireless LAN growth will expand more than 100 percent over 2009 numbers, comprising the largest growth segment along with the SOHO crowd. Dell'Oro attributes that growth to many factors, not the least of which is the increasing use of mobility in the workplace.
'The proliferation of Wi-Fi enabled devices and users' desire for constant access are fundamentally changing how network administrators accommodate the devices,' said Loren Shalinsky, senior analyst of Wireless LAN research, in a release about the report. 'The increase in the number of Wi-Fi enabled devices will contribute to growth in all three WLAN market segments, as mobile users want access to the same information, regardless of where they are located.'
The increased use of the iPad and other wireless-only devices in the enterprise brings this notion to bear. Mobile device manufacturers are moving to a model in which wires have no place; even a part-time wired connection would unnecessarily and unfairly tether the user, these device manufacturers seem to believe.
And as more consumer devices proliferate across the enterprise, IT administrators must look for ways to accommodate the devices on the corporate network. Wireless LANs are the most obvious way of ensuring the devices can connect and employees can get access to the information they need. As networks further evolve and even more wireless devices make their way into the corporate infrastructure, wireless LANs will become even more ubiquitous.
In this case, wireless LAN growth is a case of the tail wagging the dog. The mobile workforce-and the devices they use-are forcing the growth.